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On December 20, 2012, the Adam Walsh Act (SORNA) required many individuals who were convicted of sex offenses but not classified as violent sex offenders to begin registering as sexual offenders.  A new law passed in March 2014 has removed the registration requirement for individuals convicted of second-degree felony Indecent Assault between January 22, 2006, and January 1, 2007; Unlawful restraint (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 2902(b)); False Imprisonment (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 2903(b)); Interference with the Custody of Children (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 2904);  Statutory Sexual Assault (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 3122.1); Corruption of Minors (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 6301); Invasion of Privacy (18 Pa. C.S.A. Section 7507.1); and second-degree misdemeanor Indecent Assault (18 Pa. C.S.A. 3126) between January 23, 2005 and December 19, 2012. 

Individuals who did not have to register as a sexual offender before December 19, 2012 and were convicted of one of the offenses listed above should contact a criminal defense attorney for advice on whether the new law applies to them.

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a Munhall, PA man shot and killed a man who had broken into his garage.  After calling 911, the homeowner informed the intruder that the police were on their way.  Munhall police reports that the intruder began an exchange of gunfire and was killed in the encounter.  Under Pennsylvania law, a person may defend himself and his home from intruders with deadly force.

 

For more information, go to:

Homeowner, intruder involved in gunfight in Munhall; intruder shot dead

 

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WPXI reports that 60 Pittsburgh-area drivers received traffic citations for improper use of the carpool/high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on the Parkway North.  Under the law, the HOV lane may only be used by motorcycle operators and cars that are carrying at least two human passengers inbound from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM and outbound from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  There are no exceptions for fuel-efficient vehicles.

 

For more information, go to:

“Police crackdown on HOV lane offenders, Morning rush impacted”-WPXI

“HOV Lanes”-PENNDOT

 

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Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala issued a statement outlining the public’s right to videotape police officers. DA Zappala explained that a person has the right to videotape police officers who are on duty but people do not have the right to antagonize the officers or attempt to provoke an arrest. He also advised that police officers are not permitted to arrest individuals for videotaping police actions.  DA Zappala also advised individuals who are being arrested to submit to the arrest regardless of whether they believe the arrest is valid.

For more information, go to:

DA: Videotaping an exchange with officers is within a citizen’s rights

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According to the latest information, 73 people were arrested for crimes or were issued citations during the Kenny Chesney concert.  News outlets earlier reported that 43 individuals were cited for underage drinking.  The 73 arrests and citations are in addition to the underage drinking citations.  The offenses included “assaults including an indecent assault in the stadium concourse, public urination, disorderly conduct, underage drinking, drunken driving, ticket scalping and a robbery.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

 

For more information, go to:

Chesney concert spins off mayhem, tons of garbage (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Police arrest, cite 73 at Chesney concert; medics treat 150 (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

Chesney Concert Ends With Fights, Arrests (KDKA)

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Yesterday, thousands were at Heinz Field for the Pittsburgh leg of Kenny Chesney’s “No Shoes Nation” Tour.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that, during a law enforcement sweep of the Heinz Field parking lots, 43 individuals were cited for underage drinking and related offenses.  WPXI noted that, in addition to the underage drinking citations, five people were arrested.

For more information, go to :

Dozens cited for underage drinking at Chesney concert (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Massive clean-up begins following Kenny Chesney concert (WPXI)

Kenny Chesney Fans Pack North Shore For Concert (KDKA)

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The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the limit for blood alcohol levels for drivers be lowered to 0.05.  The NTSB has also recommended that measures be taken to encourage broader use of interlock devices. Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the American Automobile Association have not yet endorsed the NTSB’s recommendations.

In its report, the NTSB renewed its recommendation that all DUI/DWI offenders be required to install an interlock device on their vehicles.  The NTSB also reiterated its support of pre-conviction license confiscation and recommended that those charged, yet not convicted of DUI, be required to have an interlock device installed before having their licenses returned (administrative license suspension/administrative license revocation).

*Note: Pennsylvania most recently lowered the legal limit for blood alcohol to 0.08 in 2003.  In Pennsylvania, you can be convicted of driving under the influence with any amount of alcohol in your system if your level of impairment renders you incapable of safe driving.

For more information, go to:

“Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving”-National Transportation Safety Board

“Safety Board Recommends Defining Legally Drunk With Lower Blood Alcohol Level”-Time Magazine 05/15/2013

“Could Lower DUI Standards Be Decades Away in PA, NJ?”-Philly.com

Changing drunken driving threshold from .08 blood alcohol level to .05 recommended-RGJ.com

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On November 11, 2012, Leon Ford was shot by a city of Pittsburgh police officer during a traffic stop.  Although a video of the incident has been recovered, the audio recording doesn’t include anything between the time the officers exited their car to the time that the gunfire started.  Pittsburgh Police Department policy requires officers in vehicles with cameras to record the audio of the taped encounters.  Officers are “are required to ‘carry the audio transmitter throughout their tour of duty’ [and] are not permitted to deactivate the microphones.”  An assistant city solicitor speculated that the officers may have accidentally left the microphone in their vehicle.

For more information, go to:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-police-re-examine-audio-record-policy-674276/

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In a follow-up to the post about Bishop Samuel Mullet, a federal court sentenced the Amish man to 15 years in prison on Friday.  The US Attorney’s Office requested that Mr. Mullet serve life in prison.

For more information, go to:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/02/08/171503838/amish-beard-cutting-ring-leader-sentenced-to-15-years-in-prison

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US attorneys are recommending a sentence of life in prison for Samuel Mullet.  Mullet is an Amish bishop convicted of conspiracy and federal hate crimes after a string of attacks in which Amish individuals had their hair and beards cut with shears against their will.  Mullet’s attorney, Edward Bryan is advocating for a sentence that calls for two years of incarceration.  In his sentencing memorandum, Attorney Bryan noted that “[n]on-drug federal life sentences are thus typically reserved for the most heinous of crimes involving murder.”  The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Friday, February 8th.

For more information, go to:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/prosecutors-seek-life-sentence-in-amish-beard-cutting-case-673488/

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/02/sam_mullet_lawyer_asks_for_len.html

http://www.thedaily.com/article/2012/12/03/120312-news-amish-bishop-exclusive

http://www.wkyc.com/assetpool/documents/130205120650_Sentencing%20Recommendation.pdf

http://www.thestate.com/2013/02/01/2614897_leader-of-amish-group-in-ohio.html

http://www.wkyc.com/news/article/281942/3/Fellow-Amish-want-life-in-prison-for-Sam-Mullet

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